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NYC isn't the only major Northeastern city whose long-serving mayor will be retiring next year: Boston's Tom Menino will be ending his twenty-year reign. His retirement, unlike Bloomie's, is voluntary. I'm sure Bloomberg would have run again if he could steamroll the City Council--or cajole Christine Quinn--into letting him.

With a lot of pent-up ambition in Boston (especially among Democrats), we have a kitchen sink primary coming up next month. There are 12 candidates, 11 Democrats and 1 Republican, even though only nine of them are seen as having a chance to make it to the runoff.

John Connelly, an At-Large Boston City Councillor, was the first to declare his candidacy. He did so on February 26, a month before Mayor Menino announced his retirement. Since the start, Connelly has been trying to bill himself as the "education mayor." But whose idea of education?

If it hasn't been clear yet in the race so far, it is now--Connelly's idea of education is that of Wall Street, the Walton Family, and Bain Capital.

Corporate reform group Stand for Children has pledged to throw over $500,000 behind a "full-frontal assault" on Connolly's behalf---advertising on broadcast and cable TV, direct mail, phone banking, and door-to-door canvassing.

The Boston Globe noted some of Stand for Children's past advocacy work in Massachusetts:

Last year, Stand for Children’s ballot committee spent $400,000 pushing for a statewide ballot measure that would have emphasized classroom performance in school decisions about teacher retention.

Opposed by labor unions, that ballot initiative was withdrawn after Stand for Children and the Massachusetts Teachers Association negotiated a compromise prioritizing teacher evaluations over teacher seniority in staffing decisions.

In 2010, the group helped advocate for a law that lifted the moratorium on charter schools in Massachusetts’ urban districts.

Stand for Children is no local Massachusetts-based nonprofit. It finds its home in Oregon, where it evolved from a civil rights group to a darling of the hedge fund managers. Education historian and prominent advocate for public education Diane Ravitch explained the past and present of Stand for Children on her blog earlier today:
Stand began its life in Oregon as a civil rights group, but then discovered that there was a brighter future representing the interests of equity investors and Wall Street.

Subsequently, many of its original members left, but the budget greatly expanded, allowing them to be a major presence in states like Illinois and Massachusetts, where they promote charter schools and the removal of teacher tenure.

In Illinois, they bought up all the best lobbyists and got passed a law that made it illegal for the Chicago teachers to strike unless they got a 75% approval vote.

The Chicago Teachers Union got more than 90% and went on strike, much to the surprise of the big-money funders who thought they had crippled the union.

She also highlighted recent comments by Stand for Children CEO Jonah Edelman that show how unabashed the corporate leanings of the group are:
Edelman boasted at the Aspen Institute Festival about how he had “outfoxed” the teachers’ union by working with the state’s wealthiest hedge fund managers, buying up lobbyists, and winning anti-union legislation.

Stand pretends to be a “progressive” organization. It is, in fact, as Edelman boasts on the Aspen video, a mouthpiece for the 1%: Pro-privatization, anti-union, anti-public education.

In light of the recent news, Chris Faraone of the Jamaica Plain Gazette called Connelly the "biggest threat to BPS."

After seeing the disasters-in-progress in Philly and Chicago effected by the school privatizers and profiteers--and their willing accomplices in elected offices, I don't want the same to happen in Boston as well.

If you are in Boston and want someone truly committed to ensuring equitable, high quality public education, then opt for the other At-Large City Councillor in the race: Felix Arroyo.

Originally posted to Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 07:24 PM PDT.

Also republished by Massachusetts Kosmopolitans.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Privatization has nothing to offer education. (Or (5+ / 0-)

    health care either for that matter.) We're, what, around 100 years into the "public education experiment", after 2,000,000 plus years of human evolution without it. Two million years of nothing approaching modern prosperity and economic growth rates. Why would anyone want to throw away modern education for all, and return to fiefdom, true oligarchy, etc.?

    What we really need is universal, unlimited, free public education, and every right winger on earth will automatically fight against that.

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 07:52:30 PM PDT

  •  so many important issues to consider. (3+ / 0-)

    I like Arroyo for this, but then he hasn't a clue about anything regarding sustainable economy.

    The one who really scares me is Dan Conley. District Attorney who was willing to go the mat against the Occupy protesters in the courtroom. He was behind all the delays and obfuscations as we tried to get documentation regarding whether monitoring and decision-making about how to respond to the protests was coordinated with agencies outside of city jurisdiction (BRIC.)

    A small group of us met with him to discuss mainly eco-sustainability issues, but he did some major duck and roll moves whenever we asked him questions he couldn't or didn't want to answer.

    I asked him if he understood how the soft power network in City Hall works and what he would do to assure everyone that it would be transparent and minimized. He tried to suggest that that stuff doesn't really happen. Said all bids were public. (As if that system isn't gamed ahead of time and as though that was  the only way in which power was wielded in city hall.)

    Two minutes later, when he was asked something about speaking to and listening to youth, he noted that their is a youth council in the Mayor's office. Then he oted that his son was currently on it and joked, "I wonder how the District Attorney's son got a seat on that?!" It was a blatant smugness about being in a privileged position and getting his son into a position of privilege, just moments after denying that there is a soft power network in City Hall.

    His campaign has the most money poured into it and it really scares me that we'll go for another old-boys-network security state-supporting white guy. But, I've seen nothing in Boston elections to convince me that we'll really push for anything else.

    Building Community. Creating Jobs. Donating Art to Community Organizations. Support the Katalogue

    by UnaSpenser on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 08:35:32 PM PDT

    •  What are your thoughts on the field? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      UnaSpenser

      I just moved to Boston recently. From your comment, I can tell that you are fairly politically engaged here. I'm curious to hear your thoughts on which candidates show the most (progressive) promise?

      •  ask me in a couple of days. I'm still working my (1+ / 0-)

        way through some of the candidates and getting as sense of where they are on the continuum.

        I'd like to see a woman or a person of color, simply to break the hold that white males have had on the office. But, it's more important that the person's politics have a "smash patriarchy" edge to them than that the person be of a certain demographic.

        It's crazy in my neighborhood. Every progressive house seems to have a different candidate's sign out. So, I'm going around talking to everyone to see why they're choosing the person they've put the sign out for.

        Building Community. Creating Jobs. Donating Art to Community Organizations. Support the Katalogue

        by UnaSpenser on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 10:33:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Mike Ross is the guy you want (0+ / 0-)

          Mike served two terms as President of the Boston City Council and currently serves as chair of the Public Safety Committee.

          He has been member of the Boston City Council since 1999; representing District 8, which includes Beacon Hill, Back Bay, and the Fenway. He's good on gay rights, (his Mom is openly gay) and he has 14 years of experience in the Boston City Council.

          District 8 is the core of Boston to which most of the other inner neighborhoods are adjacent.

          He's well connected to Beacon Hill and the statehouse since its in his district, and he also has done a lot to make Boston Housing more affordable.

          A lot of his funding comes from the same progressives that support Chellie Pingree in Maine's District I.

          He also has connections to the Massachusetts Broadband Institute organized by Deval Patrick to bring better communications to the Western part of the State and to serve as a matchhead for Broadband Internet services in rural areas across the country.

          Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

          by rktect on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 05:17:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But isnt that district the 1% of Boston. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            UnaSpenser

            I hear he is a great guy but that bothers me.

            •  exactly. -nt (0+ / 0-)

              Building Community. Creating Jobs. Donating Art to Community Organizations. Support the Katalogue

              by UnaSpenser on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 07:49:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, but not solely (0+ / 0-)

              I actually live in Back Bay--I just moved here for a job a few weeks ago. There's a lot of expensive housing in the area, but there are  rent-controlled and mixed-income housing units that create more econ diversity.

              Mike Ross has always been in my top 3. I like Arroyo a lot, but I'm just not sure that he has enough experience.

              Amusingly, I think I'm almost the model demographic for Ross's campaign (considering I'm a half-Jewish, progressive young professional living in Back Bay).

              I ruled out Connelly early on. Although I know labor's getting behind Marty Walsh, Walsh's strong support for charter schools makes me uncomfortable. Golar-Richie would break barriers of race and gender, but many of the answers I've seen her give to questions in Globe interviews or forums seem rather squishy. Conslavo seems okay, but I was turned off by the fact that he seemed a bit too gung-ho about more policing on his website. (Public safety is important, but when the only one of your recommendations that's bolded is "more police," that just doesn't seem right.)

            •  Beacon Hill has Louisburg Square (0+ / 0-)

              and Kerry's Boston residence, but the Back Bay is mostly cut up for student apartments and includes Newbury street which is full of bookstores, student friendly restaurants and bars, art, clothes, antiques, chess parlours, the Boston Architectural Center, Boston, Public Library, Boylston Street, scene of the Boston Marathon, and Fenway includes Fenway Park, Kenmore Square, BU and a lot of healthcare.

              Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

              by rktect on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 06:56:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  being "well-connected" to Menino's city hall (0+ / 0-)

            and all the cronyism that that entailed is not a plus to me.

            We need someone who represents the interests of the poorer communities, not the affluent Back Bay/Beacon Hill/South End ones. They get enough influence by virtue of their relative wealth.

            I'm looking for someone who is going to address the racist/classist strains in our policies. Particularly, the incredibly blatant racism within the ranks of the police force.

            I'm looking for someone to speak to how Boston can be leader on ecological issues. We're a coastal city. Due for flooding as the oceans rise. I never hear anyone in politics talk about that and what we can do to stem the tide, literally.

            I want to hear someone speaking to the overreach of the security state and how Boston is going to model a different way to approach thinking about security and safety.

            I want to hear someone talking about how the education system of "testing" and privatizing is failing us all. How pathologizing our children for having different modes of learning and expressing is failing us all. How approaching every human being, from birth, as though they will be a failure if we don't ram an information agenda and authoritarian compliance down their throats is failing us all.

            I could go on. But, I don't give a hoot about those already entrenched. I want someone to shake things up with a fresh perspective on what is needed for us to move forward in a way which is more sustainable.

            Building Community. Creating Jobs. Donating Art to Community Organizations. Support the Katalogue

            by UnaSpenser on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 07:49:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I wouldn't lable friends of Menino as cronies (0+ / 0-)

              People who know Boston know its a small town with a lot of well entrenched neighborhoods each of which has its own special interests and ruling classes.

              For politicians, media outlets, newspapers, tv, reporters, anchors, newsboys hawking papers on the canal street bridge are just the first wave of relationships that have to be cultivated

              Imagine the job of the mayor as knowing and having a personal relationship with all the players, most of whom are the ones with cronies. Think of cronies as which cement company gives tickets to which games to which contractors and whether you recognize who you end up sitting next to at Fenway Park or across Causeway street from the Fleet. (There are institutions there that go pack to the Red Hat, the Horse Bar and the Garden, and the Green Dragon)

              You could look at it by its distribution of agencies some of which like the BRA, Massport, or the MBTA probably count as baronies.

              In terms of the mayors vassalage you could look at it by school districts, city halls, colleges, universities, (Harvard owns Allston); or by Hospitals; Brigham and Woman's, Harvard Medical, Mass General, Boston Children's, Boston Medical Center, Beth Israel; or by community health centers, Boston has twenty seven and they are what parish priests used to be before pedophilia and the selling off of the churches properties to developers.

              You could look at it by Police Areas A, B, C, D and their organized crime divided up by its special interests, bank robberies, drugs, bookies, prostitution, gambling, who owns the clubs, which architects, engineers, bankers, and community groups you go to see to know which properties are hot.

              Consider the effect of the big dig on the North End, East Boston, Chelsea, Beacon Hill and the West End, Storrow Drive, the Back Bay, Fenway, Kenmore, Columbus Ave and the South End,  South Boston, The Seaport, and Marine Industrial Park, the Fort Point Channel, Downtown Boston, and Government Center. Everyone of those areas has a focal group interfacing with all of the above.

              Think of it in terms of transportation, communications, housing, commerce, and then break each of those down into which regions get served or affected by for example subways, buses, taxis, water taxis, shuttles, the coming down of the elevated lines and the new silver line.

              Take all the points at which there was an effect on the abuttors;  Charlestown, Somerville, Cambridge, Malden, Medford, Belmont, Waltham, Newton, Brighton, Brookline, Roxbury, Dorchester, Roslindale, Mattapan, Dedham, Milton and Quincy.

              To be mayor of a city requires you not just to know everybody, but to have exchanged favors, information, employees, and visits to each others turf.

              Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

              by rktect on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 04:32:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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